Men improve record

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(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

It was a case of better late than never for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s soccer team this weekend as they solved their offensive woes in the second half against the UOIT Ridgebacks on Sunday to cruise to a 2-0 victory. This result came on the heels of 0-0 tie with the Waterloo Warriors Friday night.

“Today we played pretty well,” said second-year defender Stephen Reel following Sunday’s game. “First half of the game was a little weak in the first 15 or 20 minutes, but then we got our legs and played really well. In the second half we played a lot better, with more intensity and more bite. I thought we put in a good effort today.”

On Sunday it was a case of when, not if, for the Hawks’ offence. Playing against opponents ranked second and third last in the OUA West, the Hawks asserted their dominance all weekend. The team generated a number of opportunities to score in both games, but didn’t break through until Donald Chmura headed a ball past UOIT goalie Matt Caldaroni in the 77th minute.

Adrian Bucksam would add an insurance goal off a breakaway in the 89th minute to help preserve the Hawks’ victory.

“On Friday’s game we should have scored three or four (goals). It just wasn’t going in for us,” said Chmura following Sunday’s victory.

“At the end of the day, that is soccer and sometimes that is going to happen. We were relieved to get that first goal, I mean we were scoring earlier in the season but it has been two or three games where we haven’t found the back of the net so getting that goal was definitely a big relief and we are looking forward to next game.”

Friday’s result was a disappointment for the Hawks against their cross-town rivals. Despite outshooting Waterloo 7-2, the purple and gold had to settle for a single point. The team was refocused on Sunday and walked away with a much needed three points to keep them in third in the West Division.

Chmura explained the team did not need to make any drastic adjustments to find the back of the net.

“In the second half we needed to play with more urgency, we needed to pressure them more,” he said. “At the back, we felt they were weak and they were vulnerable so putting more pressure on and getting the ball into the forwards feet. The first goal came from a set piece and it was a well-deserved goal… It was a good win overall and against a team like that, that is underneath us in the standings. Getting a win was crucial.”

Reel commended Chmura on his efforts Sunday.

“I thought Donald played very well, he controlled the middle of the field. He was spreading balls out wide, putting through-balls down the middle and he tore their back four apart.”

At the back-end, the Hawks showed no issues, with goaltenders Evan Phillips and Brett Harrington both picking up clean sheets in the weekend’s action. Each keeper faced only two shots on net.

Laurier will look to build off their success Wednesday when they visit the Brock Badgers in St. Catharines.

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